NEW YORK — Mass retailers expect big things from shoppers who procrastinate.
Drugstores and discount stores traditionally generate most of their holiday sales in the final days as consumers scramble to complete their lists, said Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions at Walgreen Co.
Both Target and Wal-Mart promoted a price-matching strategy that included online merchants. Rite Aid came out swinging early with fragrance deals including buy one, get another 50 percent off for its Wellness+ loyalty card members. At Duane Reade’s upscale Look Boutiques, the chain featured eye-catching values — including a $24.99 Rihanna Rebelle fragrance gift set — within the pages of its glossy Look Book. Duane Reade benefited from an appearance by Olympian Dara Torres, who is a brand ambassador for AmLactin, at a bustling store not far from Rockefeller Center, with crowds forming as samples spilled into the beauty department.
Walgreens broadened its approach to gift giving, as did several of its peers. Walgreens’ 12 Days of Beauty effort, which promotes a different products during the 12 days leading up to Christmas, included Crest WhiteStrips, Wet ‘n’ Wild Fergie Nail Color and the Mariah Carey Lollipop fragrance.
Target stationed Boots advisers in its beauty departments to welcome shoppers. “This holiday season, our bath and body, fragrance, value cosmetics and nail-color offerings are most popular,” said a Target Corp. spokesman. “Exclusive fragrance sets from Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, as well as cosmetics from E.l.f., are also performing very well. Nail color continues to drive sales this season.”
In fact, buyers said nail is the main sales driver this season. Kiss Product’s Grace Tallon, senior vice president of market, said the nail-art category rises almost 90 percent in sales during the holiday season versus the prior month, driven by products such as Kiss Nail Dress, Kiss Nail Sticker and Kiss Nail Artist Paint Kits. “These items are perfect holiday gifts and stocking stuffers,” she said.
This year, the category will get a boost from gel nail kits. “Gel nail kits are absolutely selling for Christmas,” said Barry Shields, the marketing manager for Innovative Beauty Group, which produces Red Carpet Manicure.
Beyond nails, retailers said both fragrance sets and color blockbusters are more popular than the last three years when shoppers pinched pennies opting for single sizes. “Gift sets have often provided a somewhat stress-free purchase for the shopper to get in and out of the madness that surrounds shopping during the holiday season,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst at The NPD Group. “And it’s not just fragrance anymore. Sets are now among the hottest areas in makeup and skin care, too.”
E.l.f. Cosmetics introduced several color kits this year. “Sales across the board are very strong, up high double digits over last year,” said Joey Shamah, chief executive officer of E.l.f. “We’ve been really successful this year introducing higher price point and value sets with a high-end packaging feel and the customer has really responded.”
Price was a bit less of an issue in the personal care aisle, too. Yes To Inc. cofounder Ido Leffler said this holiday season has marked a return to giving, regardless of the price point. “In past years we’ve seen people holding back a little and this year people just wanted to give, especially with all that is going on in world,” he said, adding that the recently launched Yes To hair-care line has also been a strong performer leading up to the holidays. “The more you can show to people the better and that doesn’t mean it has to be the most expensive thing. Here we do stocking stuffers in the months leading up to Hanukkah and Christmas, and we are definitely seeing that this will be one of our most record-breaking months.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)